The biggest bank in the nation by market value recently announced a strong fourth quarter to finish 2012 with a record $18.9 billion in net profit.
Wells Fargo & Co., with its 24 banks and 39 ATMs in the Cowboy State, finished out the year solidly with a record $5.1 billion in earnings in the fourth quarter. The profits beat Wall Street estimates for the banking giant.
"This time last year, I said we would benefit from the many opportunities we saw for 2012 — and we did just that," said Chairman and CEO John Stumpf in a release.
Among those opportunities, Wells Fargo said it saw double-digit growth in capital finance, capital markets, commercial banking, commercial real estate, corporate banking, credit card, mortgage and wealth management.
Chief Financial Officer Tim Sloan said he was pleased with the results "despite the challenges our industry faced during this past year, including continued low interest rates and elevated unemployment."
Interest income for the bank declined $249 million on the year, but with low interest rates, the bank enjoyed an ongoing refinancing boom, with 72 percent of all mortgage applications happening on the refinancing side in the most recent quarter.
During a recent conference call, Wells Fargo reported that lending fell up off the fiscal cliff
since many people acted before higher tax rates went into effect at the end of the fourth quarter. Most expected the cliff to slow things down
for banks. The fiscal cliff was pushed back several months through a last-minute deal
slammed through the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House on the last possible day.
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